Castles Made of Sand (Quiksilver Vs. History?)

A few days ago, a reader commented regarding the Quiksilver Live Site on the SUPERBLOCK and how they were “tearing up and getting rid of the remains of [what] was known as the Monuments on the Broadway lot. ”  Further, they commented it was a “shameful thing.”

First things first, I wanted to know what they were talking about.  For years I’ve seen concrete in varying degrees of disarray mixed into the SUPERBLOCK, but always assumed it was the ancient foundation of the the Long Beach Hotel or its successor which never was.

So, when the reader commented that it actually tracked it’s heritage back to WWII, I was excited to look  into it.  The best info I could find was over at http://www.ilovelbny.com/ (which is an incredible resource for all things LB History).  There, they write that this site was actually a spotting tower for Battery Harris – but more commonly referred to as the Fire Control Tower or the Lookout Tower.  You can see a great shot on the header of this post, dated around the 1950s, courtesy of ilovelbny and the Tydings family.

The site was built during WWII to keep an eye out for unwanted German naval ships trying to get near New York Harbor.  Whether they were looking for surface ships, or the dreaded U-boats seems to be up for discussion, but the fact remains, that this site served as a part of the U.S.’s network of coastal defenses during World War II.  According to ILoveLBNY, there was also a similar tower built at Atlantic Beach.  There are a few more photos courtesy of the Tydings family here.

So onto the more contentious issue:  Quiksilver (or the city) has come in to finally rip out what remains of its concrete foundation to prep the grounds for the Live Site.  A shameful thing?  I think not.  The SUPERBLOCK has to be looked at as one of the greatest eyesores in Long Beach.  A massive lot that has done nothing but grow weeds, collect garbage, and was turned into a snow melting zone after the record snowfall this past winter.

A month from now, after some rubble that has nearly been forgotten  is removed from the site, the area will (hopefully) become a vibrant carnival ground, featuring music and entertainment for the public at large.  I’m the biggest proponent of history and remembering what has been here before.  More of a reason to put up a plaque, write a book, or have a blog gather some info on the site and write a post.

Quiksilver will leave the superblock in better condition than they found it in – and will certainly be held accountable if they do not.  The City of Long Beach and its residents will benefit much more from this refreshed area as opposed to leaving it in its current state.

In closing, let’s raise a drink to this once imposing monument on the boardwalk, but also look forward to how much more the SUPERBLOCK can be, with the Live Site being the first of many new uses.

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11 thoughts on “Castles Made of Sand (Quiksilver Vs. History?)”

  1. You say “In closing, let’s raise a drink to this once imposing monument”

    I have a Problem with that. These once imposing monuments that are a part of our history are going to be trashed to allow a few Hotdog or sausage & Pepper venders that come from New Jersey or parts unknown for 10 days and then you say our Super block will be Left in better shape than before. Well my friend that of course is your opinion and of course you are entitled to it.
    Bit in my opinion that’s a lot of bull. We don’t have to trash our historic history for a few days of eating cotton candy and selling T-shirts. That’s what the fair is for. It’s like saying the hell with the Sept 11th Museum, and put up a Shake Shack there instead.

  2. I can see both sides to this. I hate to see history destroyed, but we are talking about a vacant lot in a beach community that is a stone throw away from Manhattan, one of the greatest cities in the world. And we know what they say about money, don’t we? Money talks…

    It’s a tough choice. Maybe something should of been done to preserve them, but then again, what do we do? put a fence up around them? Do we move them to a better location? To many people they were just slabs of cement. Unfortunately, but true. I do recognize and appreciate the history tough…

  3. Two points:

    First, I too have reservation about how the area will be left after the event. But, with the city, residents, and news putting an unbelievable amount of scrutiny on the event, I think it is safe to say if they leave the area a disaster, people will be screaming at the top of their lungs and action will have to be taken. Of course, that’s why i said this was a hopefully, and I personally will be sure to followup. 

    Secondly I would again agree wholeheartedly with your premise if the firecontrol tower still stood. Or if there was a large public plaza or monument already standing there. Or if this area was anything else than abandoned blight. 

    But that’s what it is. There were no casualties on this site – other than those who died when the hotel burned in 1907. This site saw no combat. This site was clearly already partially demolished once. 

    All that’s left are  just some scraps of concrete – nothing recognizable as anything more and those few remaining blocks aren’t doing anything for the city or telling anyone the history of the area. So why not let someone in who could bring a whole lot of entertainment, and in the process, clean up the area? 

    And finally hoo-rah, semper fi! Thanks for your service. Do you have any photos of the area back in its heyday?

  4. “All that’s left are just some scraps of concrete – nothing recognizable as anything more and those few remaining blocks”

    And that’s what History is made of my friend. Just remains, if that’s all we have left, then so be it..

    Semper Fi

  5. Mr.John Earns is right. Perhaps Sugo’s Cafe should consider putting up a Tacos and Hot Dogs stand on the lot. Instead of the leftover monuments from the War.
    Rumbles of concrete is still remnants of history. And it shouldn’t be thrown away like garbage.
    I would have to ask, it that was the case, then why did it take 63 years to do so?

    Thanks for your service Mr.Earns, Sir.

  6. The taco comment made me laugh- good job.

    I completely agree that that it’s a historical area – hell all of long beach is a historical site, but have you been there in awhile? Were talking about a few – already partially demolished – blocks of non descript concrete overgrown and covered in sand. 

    The tower had already been thrown away the day the city first demolished it years ago – 70s 80s? Now it’s time to do something with what’s left. And, I certainly support getting the historical society involved to get some official recognition put into the superblock so this isn’t forgotten. 

  7. Mr. John Earns is totally right and we (seabythecity) aren’t the ones that ignored the monuments for the past 50+ years. Perhaps your anger should be directed towards our city government?

    By the way, I would totally love Jax Taco and dogs at that site. That food is amazing and would be more convenient. Thanks for visiting the blog.

  8. Anthony on July 25, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Mr. John Earns is totally right and we (seabythecity) aren’t the ones that ignored the monuments for the past 50+ years. Perhaps your anger should be directed towards our city government?

    It is..
    Why would you think it was aimed at you?

  9. oh my comment was directed towards Michael Myers, who not only killed everybody in my neighborhood on Halloween, but took a jab at this site by mentioning Sugo’s tacos and dogs, which was recently reviewed. It’s ok. I can take the heat. I like to give it out too. No harm done 🙂 It’s all just words.

    But back to the topic, I’ll make a quick call to City Hall tomorrow and see what they have to say about those monuments…

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